Mevani to support Hardik’s protest next month, but advises sit-in, not fast

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Gandhinagar, July 9 (IANS) Firebrand Gujarat Dalit activist and legislator Jignesh Mevani on Monday expressed his support to Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who is set to launch a fast unto death next month to press for his demand for reservations to his community, but appealed to him to go in for an indefinite ‘dharna’ (sit-in) instead.

“I will definitely be supporting Hardik Patel for his demand for reservation for his community. Every citizen has a right to demonstrate his demand which is constitutionally valid. I think his demand is valid, without affecting the present reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Other Backward Classes,” he told reporters here.

“Hardik will be starting his fast on the 25th next month and I will be there to support him the next day,” he said.

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“But I appeal to Hardik that he shouldn’t be sitting on a fast but should go for an indefinite dharna…. even if you go hungry the cold-blooked BJP leaders won’t be moved. So I suggest he should go for dharna,” the Vadgam legislator added.

Mevani was here to meet Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to raise issues of the mid-day meal scheme employees.

Patel, the young leader from the Patidar community, had launched his agitation for reservations to his community under the OBC category on August 25, 2015, with a massive rally and went on to make a huge dent into the strongest Patel votebank of the ruling BJP. He plans to revive his moment on the same date next month.

Terming this as the last-ditch attempt, Patel, in a video address to his supporters, said: “The fight for reservation has entered the last phase. I don’t mind giving up my life for the community. I am not going to eat anything till we get reservations in government jobs and educational institutions. I need everybody’s support in this.”

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